Costa Rica: Excursion to Palo Verde River

This trip was reserved through the hotel and it only cost us $80 because we used our time share money on it. We saw the most animals on this trip, but it was my least favorite due to the condition of our transportation and the fact that one of the women was throwing up for the whole ride back. We also stopped at Cortez Waterfalls again, which was good for a picture, but I didn’t want to swim there. Our tour guide, Freddy, used to live in St. Petersburg, Florida so that was a cool coincidence. He told us many of the same facts as Andy, our other tour guide. On both tours men on the tour asked how Costa Rica stayed safe without an army. I thought it was fascinating that tourists were so interested in that fact. A cool fact from one of my friends is that they took all the money that went to the army and used it for social programs. Our drive to the river was rough. The bus felt like it had no shocks and we were in the back seats. Then they took a detour on a dirt road. You know when you were a kid and you wanted the bus driver to drive faster so you shot out of your seat? We did that for a good twenty minutes. It’s not as fun as an adult who gets easily motion sick.

This was our boat. We went on the Palo Verde river for about an hour and a half. There was no one else on the river. It was quite windy in sections and you had to hold onto your hat. Our driver was amazing at spotting animals. We were sitting in the front and since I speak Spanish, I could tell what he was seeing before the tour guide translated. I was surprised to find that a lot of the birds that we saw were the same birds that we see in Florida. There were a few different ones, but there were a lot of herons, ospreys, and egrets. We saw green and black iguanas, bats, lots of crocodiles, howler monkeys and white faced monkeys.

This is known as a Jesus Christ lizard or a common basilisk. It is known as a Jesus Christ lizard because it can run on water and not sink. This is due to a fringe of scales on their back toes. We saw him jump off the log, but not run across the water. Freddy made the joke that they are called that because when they run by you it’s so fast that you will yell out, “Jesus Christ!” We laughed.

These are both green iguanas. It’s funny how different they are colored. All the lizards we saw seemed to enjoy letting us sit there next to them and take their pictures. It was really nice.

You can tell the difference between my picture with my iPhone and my husband’s shots with his zoom lens. When we turned the boat around and just zoomed back to the dock, I lost count of how many crocodiles I saw on the sides of the river. One of the guides told us that there were at least 100 crocodiles every square mile. People don’t pay much attention to them. They even go swimming right next to them. No thank you.

These are long nosed bats. I thought it was just some spots on a tree. A lot of bats in Costa Rica are of the vampire variety, but these only consume nectar. I thought they were pretty adorable.

These are all howler monkeys. We stopped a few times to watch different groups. They are considered to be the loudest land mammal. Their howling can be heard up to three miles. They believe the howling is to territorial protection, interspacing between groups, and possibly mate guarding. One group of howlers made absolute no noise and we watched them for awhile. The next group had a member that howled the whole time we watched them. It was interesting. I love these tail curling pictures.

These are the Panamanian white faced capuchin monkey. You probably recognize it from Pirates of the Caribbean movies. They are highly intelligent. Some of them have even been trained to help paraplegics. In the wild they are noted for using tools and for rubbing different leaves on them to help with herbal remedies. These monkeys were also in the trees near reception. The women who saw them told me that sometimes they make a growling noise and you think it’s a jaguar, but it’s a monkey.

This was a great boat ride. I loved all the animals we saw. It was also very peaceful. We ate lunch at the spot where we got on the boat. We had grilled chicken again. I made a comment to the guide about being uncomfortable on the bus ride there. They decided to take the regular road back. (I’m sure the puking woman was also a factor.) We drove to the Cortez Waterfalls and my husband went into the water, so I took pictures. On the way back to the resort we drove through the town of Liberia. It was not terribly exciting. They may have stopped to let us explore in other circumstances, but it was hot and that lady was still vomiting, so we headed back to our hotels.

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